LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two recent murders have raised new questions about a program that lets accused criminals out of jail.
Through Metro Corrections, more than 660 offenders are currently participating in Louisville's Home Incarceration Program (HIP), which allows low-risk individuals accused of a crime to be released to a home while their case plays out in the criminal justice system.
HIP participants wear ankle monitors so their whereabouts can be tracked by HIP officers. Metro Corrections data says 2,133 inmates have been moved to HIP this year.
Less than three weeks after he was placed on HIP for a parole violation, Justin Curry faced a judge Monday morning to answer murder charges. Police believe the 29-year-old shot and killed a man Saturday night on Terril Lane in the Bashford Manor neighborhood.
Last week, a judge released 20-year-old Deandre Williams on home incarceration just hours after he admitted to shooting and killing 20-year-old Robert Leachman at the Parkway Place Apartments. The judge said the arrest report didn't have enough information about the crime.
These cases have sparked a conversation in the community about individuals accused of violent crimes being released on HIP.
Twenty-two people charged with murder are out on HIP in Jefferson County. Ninety-two people charged with assault are participating in the program. Several other people accused of violent crimes are also out on HIP: 24 people accused of robbery, one sex offender and seven people charged with sexual abuse.
The majority of HIP inmates are facing drug charges. Twenty-one people accused of DUI are on HIP in Jefferson County.
Stefanie McDaniel's brother, Tony Grady, was shot and killed in October of 2013. His alleged killer, Myliek First, was released on home incarceration in April, and McDaniel has been living in fear ever since.
"It's been too much," she said. "I had to leave work because I kept having panic attacks."
McDaniel said monitoring allegedly violent criminals with an ankle bracelet is not enough. She understands people are innocent until proven guilty but does not believe people who have been accused of violent crimes should be out of jail.
"If you want to cut it off and take it off, that gives you the means to get away,” McDaniel said. “Like no, they should be locked up."
Attorney Julie Kaelin understands these concerns but said it's uncommon for someone on HIP to remove the ankle monitor and disappear.
"It is a misconception,” Kaelin said. “The research shows that's just not what happens."
Data shows about 70 Louisville offenders violate the terms of their HIP each week. More than 980 inmates were returned to jail for violations this year. Oftentimes, these violations stem from participants who are unable to find an acceptable place to live. Other times, the violations are for going out of the allotted GPS range, not paying child support or not returning home from work immediately.
Sometimes the violations occur because participants commit another crime, however. Kaelin said it's fairly rare for someone to commit a serious violent crime while on HIP, and overall, the program helps with jail overcrowding.
"Just because someone is charged with murder has no bearing on how they'll behave when they're released,” Kaelin said. “Most of the time, things go very well, and we save a lot of money."
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